The skeletal remains of a killer whale (Orcinus orca) were exhumed on Tuesday to become part of the display at the Taiji Whale Museum in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.
Nami, also known as Nami-Chan, died January 14, 2011 at the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium just 7 months after being transferred there from her captive home of 24 years in Taiji.
According to Japanese news reports, Nami’s body was returned to Taiji seven months ago and buried to allow for decomposition of the 28-year-young killer whale. She was the last surviving orca captured in Japanese waters.
Captured off the Taiji coast in October of 1985 when she was barely 3 years old, Nami was forced to perform at the Taiji Whale Museum in an enclosed sea pen at the seaside marine park for 24 years. In June of 2010 she was sent by barge to the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium to become a part of a breeding program in conjunction with Kamogawa SeaWorld. It is during her stay in Taiji where she is suspected to have ingested some 491 stones weighing 81.4 kilograms (179.5 lbs) found lodged in her stomach during a necropsy performed following her death.
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In a futile attempt at damage control, the Dolphinarium Harderwijk has published an article in Zooquaria Magazine, a quarterly publication of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) following the November transfer of rescued orca Morgan to Loro Parque in Tenerife.
The 1-page article is published in the appropriate section: MEDIA AND PR, because it’s nothing more than that. And it definitely doesn’t contain anything “scientifically sound and realistic”:
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Recently released photos reveal more damaging evidence into the haphazard management of killer whale care and trainer safety at SeaWorld’s Orlando, Florida theme park. The Orca Project has obtained photographs from the 2010 OSHA investigation into the death of veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau, which appear to show harmful chemicals stored with the food supply for killer whales at Shamu Stadium. The placement and storage of the potentially toxic materials are not in compliance with OSHA Standards for employee safety and are clear violations of the Animal Welfare Act, placing the orca’s nutritional supply at risk for contamination.
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David joined “Intersection” host Mark Simpson and a panel of guests including former SeaWorld trainer John Jett, PhD and Rollins College Professor of Marketing and Ethics, Mark Johnston PhD, to discuss how SeaWorld will move forward following the death of Dawn Brancheau and what the future holds for the marine park’s “Shamu” shows.
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In what is sure to be a blockbuster best-selling book, author and journalist David Kirby introduces his latest investigative venture “Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity” (St. Martin’s Press), hit book stands July 17, 2012.
Prominently previewed in the Library Journal and nominated by St. Martin’s Press for the Columbia School of Journalism’s 2012 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, Death at SeaWorld takes a look at the often secretive and much maligned practice of keeping the ocean’s top predators in captivity for entertainment purposes.
Spawned by the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in February 2010— the legal, ethical, health, and safety ramifications of orca captivity and display have been thrust into the limelight in the media, in courtrooms, as well as in the chambers of Congress.
David dives into the numerous and varied issues as they play out in public arenas amidst the backdrop of the ongoing legal battle pitting OSHA against the multimillion-dollar marine park following the veteran trainer’s brutal death by Tilikum, the 12,000 lb (5,440 kg) orca.
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With rich multimedia presentations, testimonials and documentation- four former SeaWorld trainers, sharing a common philosophy, provide a voice to those without. A new website showcasing the once killer whale trainers’ views has been unveiled to bring their wealth of knowledge and expertise to the topic of killer whale captivity and the marine park industry. Now highly educated and valued professionals in their respective new-found careers, departed from the lives they once knew, each offers insight into the realities of orca captivity with provocative details, constructive dialogue and in-depth interviews.
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UPDATE: NOVEMBER 29, 2011: As The Orca Project reports below, Morgan’s fate has been sealed. On November 29, 2011 despite valiant and heroic efforts of supporters, the young female orca was transferred from the Dutch dolphinarium to Loro Parque in the Spanish Canary Islands where she will join 5 SeaWorld-owned orcas. Read below for more info on this year-long battle for her freedom.
Today, a disappointing and shocking decision was made by the Judge in the case of Morgan, a juvenile orca found alone June 23, 2010 in Dutch waters. She is to be moved to Loro Parque in Tenerife, Spain as soon as possible, even though a site for her sea-pen was located and warmly welcomed by the locals. There are wild orca in the area and more than likely, her family nearby. Read more on the proposed site here.
Via Free Morgan on FaceBook: “The judge ruled that Morgan must be shipped asap to Loro Parque, because there is no socialization possible with the dolphins in Dolfinarium, because they have herpes!! What a shame. The Dolfinarium hadn’t told the judge the first court case about it so they could keep Morgan there instead of Neeltje Jans. “